WHAT YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT ATIKU ABUBAKAR – IT IS SCARY AND THOUGHT PROVOKING

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While I am not going to be quick to judge anyone, however I believe ATIKU ABUBAKAR has a duty to speak to Nigerians and the world about this report just released by the US Government naming him as one of the most corrupt public officers in Africa.

The United States Government have just released this damning report on Atiku Abubakar and believe me it is not for the faint hearted. It is shocking that the US Government kept this report under wraps for so long and did not warn the PDP. I believe they are trying to warn all Nigerians.

The summary of this report is taken from a 300 page investigative report on the activities of three Africans that the United States Government regard as the most corrupt individuals from the continent of Africa; the fourth is an entity, the nation of Angola.

It is scary that in a nation of 170 million Nigerians the US government singled out Atiku Abubakar as the most corrupt. This report came out in 2010 – therefore nobody can say it has been sponsored by the Buhari Government.

The People In The Report:
1) Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea: From 2004 to 2008, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of the President of Equatorial Guinea, has used U.S. lawyers, bankers, real estate agents, and escrow agents to move over $110 million in suspect funds into the United States. Mr. Obiang is the subject of an ongoing U.S. criminal investigation.

2) Omar Bongo of Gabon: El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, the President of Gabon for 41 years until his death in June 2009, was long suspected of having accumulated his wealth through corruption. His eldest son, Ali Ben Bongo, assumed the office of the President of Gabon on October 16, 2009. For the ten years prior, he served as the Minister of Defense in Gabon. President Omar Bongo used a U.S. lobbyist to bring over $18 million in suspect funds into the U.S. financial system.

3) Atiku Abubakar of Nigeria: For over eight years Atiku wired over $40 million of suspect funds from Nigeria into the United States of America using his fourth wife. (Read summary of report below)

4) Angola: For many years Angolan officials have had access into US financial systems and wired millions of dollars of illicit funds.

SUMMARY OF REPORT:
UNITED STATES SENATE INVESTIGATION INTO ATIKU ABUBAKAR

PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS

Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Keeping Foreign Corruption Out Of The United States. Four Case Histories

MAJORITY AND MINORITY STAFF REPORT
PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE
RELEASED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS FEBRUARY 4, 2010 HEARING

CASE STUDY
ATIKU ABUBAKAR

USING OFFSHORE COMPANIES TO BRING SUSPECT FUNDS INTO THE UNITED STATES

Jennifer Douglas Abubakar, a U.S. citizen, is the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of Nigeria and a former candidate for the Presidency of Nigeria. This case history examines how, from 2000 to 2008, Ms. Douglas helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States, including at least $1.7 million in bribe payments from Siemens AG, a German corporation, and over $38 million from little known offshore corporations, primarily LetsGo Ltd. Inc., Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., and Sima Holding Ltd.

Over half of the suspect funds, nearly $25 million, were wire transferred by the offshore corporations into U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas. For most of the time period examined, the U.S. banks with those accounts were unaware of Ms. Douglas’ (Politically Exposed Person) PEP status, and allowed multiple large wire transfers into her accounts from the offshore corporations. As, over time, each of the banks began to question the wire transfers into her accounts, Ms. Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her money.

Bank records indicate that Ms. Douglas used most of the funds placed into her accounts to support a lavish lifestyle in the United States, paying credit card bills and household expenses in the range of $10,000 to $90,000 per month, including substantial legal and accounting bills. She also transferred funds to accounts she opened for the Gede Foundation, a nonprofit corporation she established in 2002, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), a university that Mr. Abubakar founded in 2003, and whose name reflects its association with American University in the United States.

An additional $14 million of the suspect funds were wire transferred by two of the offshore corporations, LetsGo and the Guernsey Trust Company, to American University to pay for consulting fees related to AUN. American University officials told the Subcommittee that they understood the funds came from Mr. Abubakar and never inquired why the wire transfers were sent by unfamiliar offshore corporations. At least another $2.1 million was wire transferred by the Guernsey Trust Corporation to accounts controlled by Edward Weidenfeld, a U.S. lawyer who provided legal services to Ms. Douglas, Mr. Abubakar, and AUN. Mr. Weidenfeld explained that the funds paid for the Abubakars’ legal expenses and an account set up for AUN, and that he had assumed the funds came from Mr. Abubakar.

Over the years, questions have been raised about the source of Mr. Abubakar’s wealth. He spent twenty years in the Nigerian Customs Service, and then worked in the private sector for ten years, before serving as Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. While Vice President, Mr. Abubakar was the subject of corruption allegations relating to the Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund. In December 2008, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a formal complaint against Siemens AG, a German company, that, among other actions, in 2001 and 2002, Siemens wire transferred $2.8 million in bribe payments to a U.S. bank account belonging to Ms. Douglas as part of a scheme to bribe Nigerian officials. In response to this and other legal actions, Siemens admitted to engaging in widespread bribery payments, pled guilty to criminal violations and settled civil violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to pay over $1.6 billion in civil and criminal fines.

Ms. Douglas has denied any wrongdoing, but the Subcommittee has obtained financial records showing the transfer of over $1.7 million from Siemens AG to Ms. Douglas’ account at Citibank.

Conclusion:
This case history demonstrates how, over an eight-year period from 2000 to 2008, Ms. Douglas and Mr. Abubakar were able to bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States, primarily through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations. Over this time period, Ms. Douglas opened over 30 accounts at U.S. banks, most of which were unaware of her PEP status due to incomplete PEP lists maintained by third party vendors and inadequate due diligence procedures. In one case, a bank failed to document her PEP status even after being told of her marriage to the former Vice President of Nigeria. In two instances, Ms. Douglas used her U.S. legal counsel, Mr. Weidenfeld, to help convince a bank to open an account. At each bank where she opened an account, she described herself as unemployed or a student, soon began receiving large wire transfers from offshore corporations, and explained when asked that she had little or no information about the companies sending her money, but believed the funds were being sent by her husband. At first, U.S. banks accepted this explanation and allowed Ms. Douglas to bring nearly $25 million over eight years into the United States.

Over the last year, Mr. Weidenfeld accepted at least another $2.1 million in wire transfers from an unfamiliar offshore corporation, with no questions asked. Over five years, American University accepted $14 million.

In each case, the bank, law firm, or university was told it was receiving funds from
Mr. Abubakar. Mr. Abubakar is a complex figure in Nigerian politics. His 20-year career in the Nigerian Customs Service, 10-year stint as a private businessman, and 8-year tenure as Vice President of Nigeria, are difficult to evaluate, especially in a country plagued by corruption.

His founding of Intels while a Customs official, the company’s association with powerful government officials, and its increasing economic profile, raise questions about the basis for the company’s success. Mr. Abubakar’s quiet exchange of Intels shares for Orlean shares in 2003; his use of Orlean and then a shell company associated with Mr. Volpi to run his allegedly Blind Trust; and the millions of dollars sent by corporations associated with Mr. Volpi to Douglas- related accounts in the United States, raise a host of questions about the nature and source of Mr. Abubakar’s wealth. An allegation by the SEC that Ms. Douglas received over $2 million in bribe payments from Siemens AG, intended in part for her husband, also cannot be dismissed.

Mr. Abubakar and Ms. Douglas convinced U.S. banks, a U.S. law firm, and even a university to accept millions of dollars from unfamiliar offshore corporations to advance their interests. U.S. AML and PEP safeguards require further strengthening to prevent offshore corporations from sending millions of dollars of suspect funds into the U.S. financial system

By

Ata Ikiddeh

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